California has long been known as one of the most liberal places in the world, and a place that has historically served as a safe haven for LGBTQ+ people. At a point in history where other states’ anti-trans legislation has become too much to bear, we must once again call upon California amenities in order to aid those who have been shunned by the rest of the country.
To understand exactly why California must take action in defending the rights of the LGBTQ + community, specifically the trans community, we must first understand the specifics and severity of the conditions of trans people in other states. In early March of this year, House Bill 675 in Idaho was being strongly considered. The bill would essentially make minors participating in trans-affirming health care illegal. Luckily, this bill was dismissed later that month, as it was seen as undermining parental rights. The Republican Senate majority caucus made it clear, however, that they were still against “gender reassignment.”
Another event that garnered a lot of media attention was when Texas governor Greg Abbott directed the state’s Department of Family and Protective Services to open child abuse investigations against parents who pursue gender-affirming healthcare for their trans children. This event was later backed by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who released a non-binding legal opinion stating, “There is no doubt that these procedures are ‘abuse’ under Texas law, and thus must be halted.”
California acted fast in response to these legislations. Senator Scott Weiner, representing the state’s 11th Congressional District, created a bill that would render unenforceable in California any out-of-state law that attempted the removal of children from their parents, after having received gender-affirming transition surgeries. He said in a statement, “What states like Texas and Idaho are doing to trans kids and their parents is unconscionable, and we must send a clear signal that California is a place of refuge for LGBTQ people.” This is a step in the right direction for California politics, which saved those who would have had to suffer the consequences of taking a huge step backwards in American politics.
Living in California, and especially in the Bay Area, the BHS student body has become immersed in a culture that is accepting and encouraging of the expression of pride in identity. Having had a unique access to education on the history of the LGBTQ+ community, it’s our job to invoke change.
Historically, California has been proud to serve those restrained from expressing their identity through discriminatory legislation. And throughout time, the effects of its support have been groundbreaking. In an age where LGBTQ+ children are being threatened with removal from their parents, neglected by the medical industry, and pushed to the margins of society, California must continue to move forward in ensuring basic civil liberties for all.